DNR News: Weekly fishing tips, bear plan update and invasive species help

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News Digest - Week of July 2, 2018

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Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at michigan.gov/dnrpressroom.

Share your opinions on future bear management

The Michigan DNR is asking the public to participate in a survey about black bear management.

Michigan is home to an estimated 12,000 adult black bears. To guide bear management throughout the state, the DNR, with assistance from tribes and many others interested in maintaining a healthy black bear population, developed the state’s first bear management plan in 2009. 

Now, the DNR is working to revise that plan and is encouraging the public to help. A questionnaire (available at https://www.research.net/r/BearPlan) has been developed to capture opinions, which will be accepted until July 31, 2018.

“The plan we have been operating under for almost 10 years has been a great tool,” said DNR bear specialist Kevin Swanson. “We want to make sure that the plan is still meeting the state’s and others' needs, or determine if changes are needed to ensure a thriving bear population for future generations.”

The current plan's objectives include:

  • Maintaining a sustainable black bear population.
  • Providing hunting opportunities.
  • Minimizing bear-related conflicts.

This questionnaire is one piece of the larger engagement process. Once all comments are received, the DNR will evaluate possible modifications and then provide a draft updated plan for review and feedback, too. The DNR hopes to have a final plan available in 2019. 

For more information, contact Kevin Swanson at 906-458-1889.

With simple steps, boaters can help keep Michigan’s waters healthy

A thumbnail image from a video highlighting how boaters can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species on lakes.

The summer recreation season is in full swing, bringing boaters from all over to fish and float on Michigan’s lakes. When watercraft are on the move, though, that means aquatic invasive species – non-native plants and animals that spread rapidly and have negative effects on recreation and the environment – could be, too.   

Gov. Rick Snyder recently proclaimed June 30 to July 7 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week. Lakefront landowners are taking the opportunity to ask everyone who goes on the water to clean, drain and dry their boats, trailers and gear before traveling to new destinations.  

“The quality of our lakes and streams is threatened by an increasing number of aquatic invasive species,” said Scott Brown, executive director of Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations. “Awareness goes a long way toward helping to control their further spread.” 

This new, brief video explains more about the impact of aquatic invasive species.

Brown’s group is a nonprofit, statewide organization dedicated to the preservation, protection and wise management of Michigan’s inland lakes. Its membership represents over 250 lake associations, most of which rely on lakefront landowners to pay for annual chemical treatments to combat invasive plants.  

According to Brown, an estimated $30 million is spent annually to control aquatic plants in Michigan. 

“Most lakes are already dealing with Eurasian watermilfoil,” said Brown. “Now, starry stonewort is making its way to lakes throughout the state. Chemical treatments only give these species a ‘haircut’ – they don’t eradicate them.”

In addition to invasive plants, zebra and quagga mussels are moving into inland lakes, and there currently are no effective ways of removing these species once they move in – that’s why the “clean, drain, dry” approach is critical.     

Weeds, debris and lake or stream water can include invasive species or their seeds and larvae. A few minutes of inspection and cleaning can ensure that no one unintentionally gives aquatic hitchhikers a ride to a new location.  

For instructions on cleaning, draining and drying boats, trailers and gear, visit Michigan’s Clean Boats Clean Waters website at micbcw.org

For more about aquatic invasive species, visit michigan.gov/invasives or contact Joanne Foreman, DNR invasive species communications coordinator, at 517-284-5814. 

Weekly fishing report gives anglers the edge

Get details on area waters, baits and other information that can elevate your fishing trips

For many folks, summertime in Michigan means one thing: fabulous fishing! If your ideal day involves plenty of time on the water trying to catch your limit, boost your chances by first giving the DNR's weekly fishing report a read.

The report includes updates from fisheries staff and conservation officers, and is intended to give you an idea of what's going on around the state. Of course, there's no way to include information about every location, but learning about catch reports, water conditions and bait success in certain areas of the state can give you insight about activity and movement on waters in that section of the state. 

Learn more about subscribing to the weekly fishing report on the DNR website or contact Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839.

Note to editors: High-resolution versions of some of the above images (and others) are available in this photo folder.

Events button

Bike parades, lighted boat parades, jubilees and other family-friendly fun are on tap to celebrate our nation's independence this week. See what's happening at state parks and historic sites near you. 

buy and apply

Interested in creating and managing habitat to benefit a variety of Michigan wildlife? Check out our Private Lands Program, where the main goal is providing technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners.

get involved

Did you know that over 300 volunteer Loon Rangers protect and monitor loons and their habitat on specific Michigan lakes? Learn more about this management, protection and registry program today.